A colleague of mine, named Blythe Alberg, wrote a wonderful article about eggs entitled, Eggs…are they REALLY the PERFECT Fat Loss Food and it inspired me to continue the discussion. In today’s article, I just want to briefly help you distinguish between the different types of eggs on the market. It used to be that we had only one choice in the supermarket, now we must decide amongst a number of different types of eggs and their prices can vary greatly. So let’s talk about some of the more commonly found types of eggs…
1. Free-Range Eggs – The eggs come from chickens that have continuous access to the outdoors and food, unfortunately there are currently no standards to what “outdoors” means. This could be interpreted as a fenced in basketball court or an open field, it is up to the farmer because there are no government requirements. If you are getting your free-range eggs from a reputable source it will mean “pasture-raised” but be warned, some of the less-than-honest companies may not be so forthcoming.
2. Pasture-Raised – These are considered the best type of egg because the chickens are allowed to roam open fields and peck at vegetation and bugs. This results in a superior egg that is full of lutein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A & E. In addition, these eggs have a tendency to have less saturated fat and cholesterol.
3. Vegetarian-Fed – This means that the chickens that produce the eggs can only be fed vegetarian foods with no animal byproducts. This is not a significant improvement over conventional eggs because they can be fed corn and other grains that fatten them up but do not improve the nutrition of the egg.
4. Organic Eggs – These eggs must meet strict guidelines that include keeping the chickens outdoors, no antibiotics and all vegetarian feed that is produced without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. An improvement over conventional eggs, however, if the chicken is fed organic corn then it may not result in the same kind of nutritious qualities associated with pasture-raised eggs.
5. Natural Eggs or Naturally Raised Eggs – This means NOTHING because eggs are non-processed and thus are considered natural.
6. Omega-3 Eggs – These eggs come from chickens that are fed food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Such sources include algae and flaxseeds. This does improve the nutrition of the eggs by increasing their omega-3 content.
7. Hormone-Free/Antibiotic-Free – All eggs must be hormone-free and if they are USDA graded eggs they must be antibiotic-free as well.
8. Pasteurized – Most eggs that are available to supermarkets are pasteurized. This process heats the eggs to a point that is just below the “cooking point” to kill bacteria.
Does the color of the egg make a difference?
No, the color of the egg has no impact on the nutritional qualities of the egg and should not come into play when choosing your egg.
Dr. Ray’s Notes:
I personally prefer pasture-raised eggs and get mine from Springfield Farms. The eggs are much more nutritious and they taste better! There are some more conventionally available eggs such as Eggland’s Best which are also good quality. In my book though, you just cannot beat the eggs produced from chickens that live a happy life on the pasture pecking away at grass and bugs! Now THAT is an incredible, edible EGG!